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Old 11-09-2009
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Buckeye Buckeye is offline
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Default Windows Home Server Project

Being a big fan of SATA drives for storage and the ability to just unplug a drive and connect it up to another machine to access data is a nice plus and works very well. I had my main rig all setup with a few to many drives for my liking and began to notice slowdowns during boot ups and a few other issues, like drives going down. So I began to rethink how I want everything setup.

What I wanted was a way to store large amounts of data, have easy access to it and the ability to have some sort of protection against failures.

I did not wish to setup another large Raid 5 setup, I did not have the number of same size drives to do this with, but Raid 5 is a very nice way to go. In fact I have a Buffalo 1TB TeraStation configured to Raid 5 running and with its small size and ease of use it works very well for what I use it for and that is programs that I have purchased like the full TechNet subscription and many others.

Back when Windows Home Server first came out I purchased the software and setup a nice WHS, this worked very well for a long time but I needed the case for another project and ended up tearing it down.

Here is my first WHS.
The case is a like this one or QPack

And the server itself was an old AMD 4200+ Dual Core setup with 4x 750gb WD hard drives.

This was a very nice WHS, low power usage and plenty of storage.

This is what you get when you purchase the OEM version of Windows Home Server

Full Windows Home Server products that you can buy are very nice also, I really like this HP WHS.

So I decided to look around the bench area and see what I could do with parts I had on hand. I wanted something powerful so I could use it for other things besides the WHS, I like to use my machine for crunching also.

Plus I want the ability to run just about any program on this machine should I decide to do so.

I had several choices for CPUs QX9650, QX9770 and a few AMD CPUs. The QXs would be nice for crunching but run hot and use a lot of power, plus my last EVGA 790i Ultra motherboard died so I was out of a socket 775 MB. I happen to have a AMD 955BE that has a locked multi I received months ago and its pretty much a reject but would work very well for this.

So its the 955BE and a Gigabyte MA790FXT-UD5P beater board that I have abused many times under extreme cold. Plus I like the energy saver utilities that Gigabyte offers with its motherboards.

Ram I am going to use is OCZ Reapers that is a I7 kit nut only using 2 sticks. This will be replaced when I get a cheaper set of Ram.
The video card I had laying around was a PNY GeForce 210 which will only be needed to get the server up and running. The WHS will be running headless, that is no display or keyboard/mouse, just the box.
PSU is a Cooler Maser 1200 watt big boy, its my spare PSU and that will be replaced when I pick up a smaller PSU as its way over kill LOL 

I also had an old desktop case laying around that I will use for this, not sure what the brand is but you will see pictures of it later on.

So off with the build and installing WHS

I decided to not use the big pile of HDs you saw in that one picture so I could have a few spares laying around.
So its setup on one 250gb WD IDE drive for the system drive.
One big 1.5TB and another 750gb HD for a total of 2.27TB of storage.

As I have plenty of SATA ports available I can add a bunch more HDs whenever needed.

So now for the completed system.

And the desktop with the rig crunching
I used a small over clock on the system for 3.5ghz which you will see in a sec

Windows Home Server has the connector software for managing the server, but I also like to be able to get in and do just about anything and as the machine will be headless I used a program called Radmin to remote in and take control of the server.

This is what Radmin shows me on my main rig. With this I can do just about anything with the server. See it looks just like the desktop on the server when a LCD and keyboard/mouse is used.

So final tweaking is still needed but over all its running very well. Power output drops to about ~40watts CPU on idea to ~63watts CPU on full crunching. Total power usage is a bit high for my liking at ~200watts total use on full crunch and ~110watts on idle. I would like to get this lower and will most likely drop the CPU back to default setting for over clock. Full crunching uses 100% CPU usage on all 4 cores so it gets a work out crunching.

So far I am very happy with performance and the amount of storage I have available and as you can see I am at 14% usage right now, I still have a bunch to move over but I have plenty of head room left.

You can use just about any hardware for a WHS to make it smaller and use less power so mine is a bit extreme LOL 
So if you have an old machine that you are not using laying around or a bunch of spare parts, a WHS can be setup and away you go. It does not require a powerful CPU or a big beefy system for one to work well.

With the WHS file system and the use of hard drives as JOBOD or Just a Bunch Of Disks, you can use any HD you have on hand to plug into the WHS and should the system fail any of the HDs can be pulled out and plugged into another computer to have access to the files that the WHS stored there. It also uses Folder Duplication which spreads the files around from HD to HD so no file is in just one place.

Users can be setup for anyone using the WHS such as other family members and each can have permissions set to control what they can do. It also allows you to run your own website and has many features for that or even a FPT server for sharing files. WHS has a ton of add-ons that you can add to the system for just about whatever you need to do.
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